UN climate chiefs have backed hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as part of the solution to global warming, according to a report carried by the Telegraph newspaper on Sunday. Fracking is the controversial process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth.
Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the working group that drew up the report, said it was “quite clear” that shale gas “can be very consistent with low carbon development and decarbonization.”
The comments give support to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s earlier call for energy independence and the adoption of technologies like shale gas fracking to top Europe’s political agenda. Cameron said on March 25 that the Crimea crisis was a “wake-up call” for states reliant on Russian gas. Britain has a “duty” to embrace fracking, he added.
Europe fears that Russia might cut off the gas supply that they rely on as retaliation to Western sanctions.
Although the UK imports less than 1 percent of its gas directly from Russia, Russia’s energy giant Gazprom claims it sells between 11 billion and 12 billion cubic metres to the UK, which is about 15 percent of the country’s total need. Supplies of Russian gas indirectly reach Britain through other European countries. This explains why in 2009 UK gas prices soared by 17 percent when Russia cut off the gas to Ukraine.
The “shale gas revolution” in the US seems to inspire Britain’s hope that it can also be a game-changer for the UK in terms of energy, economics and geopolitics.
UK to lead EU frack fight?